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Most people, especially those that have suffered acne scarring, desire clear skin. Dermabrasion helps to sand away some of the scarring left from acne as well as fine wrinkles that develop around the lips. The technique has its roots in ancient Egypt, where at the time of the Pharaohs they used pumice stones and alabaster to remove skin blemishes. Modern dermabrasion began at the turn of the last century where spinning abrasive burrs were first employed.

About the Procedure

During the surgery, an abrasive wheel or wire brush rotating at high speeds is used to remove the outermost layers of skin. It smoothes, lightens, and thins the skin surface and elevates depressed areas. It is a technique that is most applicable to the face. Other areas of the body should be approached cautiously, if at all.

It can be thought of as “sanding” the skin. The physician determines how deeply to go in order to treat your particular wrinkling or scarring. The great difference between applying the technique to your face as opposed to an inanimate surface, like a block of wood, is that the skin is relatively thin. Scarring may penetrate all layers of the skin, but surgeons are limited as to how deep they can go.

Though dermabrasion evens out irregularities in the contour of the skin and can greatly improve the appearance of certain scars, it cannot eliminate scarring completely. In addition, several treatments may be necessary over a period of time before the maximum benefit is obtained. Expectations for improvement must be kept realistic or you will be disappointed with results.

Dermabrasion can be performed by itself or with other procedures, such as a scar revision, chemical peel, or laser treatments. In addition, it can be used as a rejuvenation procedure along with a face lift.

Recovery and Healing

The skin surface heals from dermabrasion in about two weeks, but redness persists and the full effect of treatment may not be apparent for several months.


You will have a burning sensation after surgery that will moderate over time and can be controlled with pain medication. Care must be taken to minimize the risks of scarring, both during surgery and the healing period. During the consultation the risks and benefits should be clearly explained and understood.